Southwest Tennessee Community College

CONTACT:
(Vonesha Mitchell, (901)312-9796, Vonesha@altconsulting.org)

Planning Begins For EntrepreneurshipWeek USA Events To Boost
Regional Entrepreneurship

Education of the Next Generation of Entrepreneurs and Innovators

Memphis, TN, 01/11/2007 – Community leaders from across the Memphis City, Shelby and Fayette County area have been working on ideas for a local event targeting high school students to take place during the nationwide EntrepreneurshipWeek USA -- February 24 through March 3, 2007.

Within The Week, regional organizations ranging from businesses to schools to nonprofits will be encouraged to conduct activities, such as open houses, seminars, meet-and-greets with successful entrepreneurs to encourage all people to explore their entrepreneurial potential.

“This is more than one event happening at one location,” said Cynthia Norwood, Managing Director for alt.Consulting. “Everybody can do something.”

The goal of EntrepreneurshipWeek USA nationwide is simple: Increase public awareness of entrepreneurship. On a national basis, the week is sponsored by The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, Inc. magazine and The New York Times.

In Memphis City, Shelby and Fayette County, the initial event planning push came from David Doyle, TSBDC Executive Director.

One of his goals, Doyle said last week, is opening the eyes of teens and young adults to the unlimited possibilities of ways to create value for society through entrepreneurship, including creating their own business, developing a new product, or implementing a creative solution to a local problem.

Development of entrepreneurship in Memphis City, Shelby and Fayette County, particularly in the younger generations that identify with the desire to make a positive impact on the world, is a key piece of the state’s economic future, Doyle said.

The TSBDC, alt.Consulting, and representatives from Memphis City, Shelby and Fayette County schools have planned a Youth Entrepreneur Clinic and Competition for Saturday, February 24th, 2007 and Saturday March 3rd, 2007.

With the theme,” What’s Your Big Idea? Take it On!,” the EntrepreneurshipWeek USA initiative is designed to serve as an inspiration for young people to think creatively and to turn their ideas into action – whether that means starting a new business, developing an innovation for an existing company or solving a problem that makes society better. Official events are being planned in cities across the country, including in Washington, D.C., where the focus will be on the importance of policy to the nation’s entrepreneurs.

“We are delighted with the leadership and expertise that these regional and local organizations bring to EntrepreneurshipWeek USA as program partners,” said Carl Schramm, president and CEO of the Kauffman Foundation. “Educating our young people about entrepreneurship and reinforcing the value that entrepreneurs and innovators bring to our economy is critical to America’s long-term prosperity – more so now than ever before.”

According to Kauffman Foundation research, 41 percent of children ages 9 -12 say they would like to start their own business. “Young people have a natural desire for the independence and control that comes with owning a business and being their own boss,” Schramm said.

Entrepreneurship is a driving force for the U.S. economy. During the past 15 years, businesses less than five years old have accounted for about 70 percent of the net job creation in the United States. However, while America presently maintains the edge as an entrepreneurial society, there are clear signs of massive economic competition from abroad. Future Americans will need to be generating more ideas and better innovations if the United States is to stay ahead of the large populations of educated citizens in emerging and globally savvy economies.

For more information on events and activities across the country and information to engage young people on how to get involved in EntrepreneurshipWeek USA, please call (901)312-9796 or visit: www.EntrepreneurshipWeekUSA.com.